WEF ends on cautious note

| | Updated on: Jan 30, 2011

The 41st annual World Economic Forum meeting ended here on a cautious optimism with global leaders raising doubts about the world’s ability to combat effectively a possible financial crisis, even as they asked corporates not to sacrifice long-term growth for short-term profits.

“Can we safely say that we can prevent further crises from happening? Do we have the necessary mechanisms in place to ensure sustainable growth globally? We have laid down the groundwork, but we are not there yet,” these remarks by German Chancellor Ms Angela Merkel reflected the mood at the conference, which was attended by several heads of states and global CEOs.

Not only Ms Merkel, but other leaders also warned against complacency about the risks of a new financial crisis, saying that all the international mechanisms needed to prevent another crash are not yet in place.

About 2,500 global leaders, CEOs and others participants met at a time when the world has not fully recovered from the global financial meltdown of 2008 and sovereign debt crisis is looming large in several European countries, including Greece, Portugal and Spain.

The world’s largest economies, according to US Treasury Secretary Mr Timothy Geithner, need to collaborate in order to face known and unknown challenges.

“They are not fundamentally in conflict, they are largely complementary. And we are confident that we are going to be able to build a system that serves their interest, and not just ours,” Mr Geithner had stressed.

According to UK Prime Minister Mr David Cameron, Europe is facing many problems which are needed to be tackled together by the governments.

French President Mr Nicolas Sarkozy had stressed that it was important to talk and listen to each other, to identify the collective common interest, and find new ways of thinking to help us build the future.

The G20, a club of developed and developing nations, he added, must be productive, and its agenda should focus on three major risks: sovereign debt, monetary and financial imbalance, and the impact of inflation on growth and the soaring price of commodities.

Not only from political leadership, the word of caution was also heard from business leadership with PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ms Indra Nooyi asking businesses to think beyond making short-term profits.

Published on January 30, 2011

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